Postgraduate MSc

Building Surveying

School of Science, Engineering and Environment




Distance Learning


One year

Two and a half year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

Building surveyors specialise in existing buildings. Working either in professional practices, or for a range of property-owning organisations, they advise on a broad range of professional, technical, legal, and managerial aspects related to building stock. This industry-aligned course is recommended for graduates and experienced industry professionals seeking a conversion route to a career as a building surveyor. On completion, you'll be prepared for a graduate surveyor role.

During your studies, you'll explore the core technical skills that underpin the building surveyor’s particular expertise in the fabric of existing buildings, including their construction and deterioration. You'll explore how BIM technology is revolutionising practice. With a focus on contemporary trends, you'll look at how buildings can be re-purposed for refurbishment, conservation, or adaptation.

There are few better places in the UK to study building surveying. In 2019, Salford is once again ranked amongst the world top 100 centres for architecture and built environment study (QS 2019). Led by academics with industry experience, we're at the heart of the UK's largest property and construction market outside of London, with a host of local case studies and live projects to study.

You will:
  • Study the core technological skills that underpin the building surveyor’s particular expertise in the fabric of existing buildings, including how buildings are constructed, and how they can deteriorate and fail
  • Learn how buildings can be brought back into use at the end of their lives through refurbishment, conservation, and adaptation
  • Understand the legal, professional and statutory context of the building surveyor’s role, including requirements relating to planning permission, construction contracts, and professional conduct

students accepted

This is for you if...


You to have a real passion for developing, advancing and shaping the built environment


You are keen to develop technical skills in a recognised professional role


You're practical, creative and business-focused, with an enthusiasm to progress

Course details

All about the course

The building surveying postgraduate degree course is delivered using a modular programme. Featuring eight carefully-designed modules and one research-based project, you'll explore building design and the technological methods used by industry, such as BIM. Module content will also present the legal framework and financial considerations involved in building surveying practice.

You can choose to study full-time or part-time on campus, or via distance learning. The master's award consists of for taught modules followed by a dissertation. The Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) comprises 60 credits and requires the successful completion of 15 credit modules. The Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) comprises 120 credits and requires the successful completion of eight 15 credit modules.


You will study four 15-credit taught modules in each of your first two trimesters on campus, these are designed to give you the core knowledge required for project management in construction. In the final trimester, you'll complete a dissertation worth 60 credits.


You will study two 15-credit taught modules in each of your first four trimesters on campus, these are designed to give you the core knowledge required for project management in construction. In the final trimester, you'll complete a dissertation worth 60 credits.


You will study two 15-credit taught modules per semester. Assessment of these modules is driven by real-world problems aligned to your workplace and job role. Teaching is based around a virtual learning environment supported by interactive online sessions. In the final two semesters, you will undertake a Dissertation worth 60 credits, which is also delivered online.

Your building surveying studies with us will prepare you for work as a graduate building surveyor.

Trimester one

Building Law Principles

This module will cover:

  • Principles of contract law
  • Introduction to building contracts
  • Negligence and the duty of care
  • Occupiers’ liability and building defects
  • The land-related torts
  • Introduction to commercial leases

Building Procurement and Contract Administration

This module will cover:

  • Parties and professionals in the construction process
  • Types of contractual arrangement
  • Typical contract documents
  • Pre-contract practice and the tender process
  • Commencement and progression of the works
  • Variations and contractual claims
  • Valuations and certificates
  • Completion and defect liability

Building Information Modelling

This module will cover:

  • Introduction to Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • BIM concepts, principles, barriers and challenges
  • BIM level 2
  • BIM in the design process
  • BIM in construction and facilities management
  • Interoperability and standard

Building Surveying Practice

This module will cover:

  • Professional conduct, ethics and client relations
  • Practice of building surveys and reports
  • Dilapidations surveys, negotiations and expert witness role
  • Party wall practice and procedures
  • Health and safety responsibilities and processes
  • Maintenance and conservation management
  • Regulatory issues

Building Technology

This module will cover:

  • Sites and foundations
  • Domestic scale construction
  • Environment and services
  • Large buildings
  • Building high and wide

This module is studied across Trimester One and Two.

Trimester two

Building Technology

This module will cover:

  • Sites and foundations
  • Domestic scale construction
  • Environment and services
  • Large buildings
  • Building high and wide

This module is studied across Trimester One and Two.

Building Pathology

This module will cover:

  • Cracking in buildings
  • Dampness in buildings
  • Deleterious materials
  • Masonry decay
  • Cladding failures

Planning and Development Control

This module will cover:

  • Central and local planning policy
  • Development plans
  • Operations and development control
  • Applications for planning permission
  • Permitted development and material considerations
  • Role of building control
  • Appeals and enforcement

Building Adaption

This module will cover:

  • Feasibility (design process)
  • Adaptive reuses
  • Lateral and vertical extensions
  • Principles and aspects of refurbishment
  • Sustainable adaptation
Trimester three


This module allows you to develop a research proposal with clear aims and objectives related to your study. You will undertake critical analysis of existing research and engage in various forms of recognised research in order to produce a sustained, sophisticated, and logical argument in the form of a written dissertation.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?




You will develop your knowledge and skills through a blend of theoretical, collaborative and practical methods. These include:

  • Studio projects
  • Projects with other built environment students
  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Directed study
  • One-to-one tutorials (by appointment)
  • Guest lecturers and visits to construction sites etc.


You will be assessed through written coursework (100%) and continuous informal assessment by your tutors. Methods include:

  • Design projects
  • Essays
  • Case study analysis
  • Precedent studies
  • Industry Mentoring Scheme -  you will have the opportunity to participate in the MSc Building Surveying Industry Mentoring Scheme. The critical transition between academic study and working life presents many challenges and we hope that this initiative offers students the opportunity to share their concerns and queries with those who have been through this experience and to capitalise on this knowledge and insight.

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

From cyber security to biomedicine to architecture, our expanding suite of multidisciplinary courses shapes the next generation of scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Through advanced research, we’re pioneering robotics and AI, smart environments and the appliance of data. With a team of over 200 dedicated academic, technical and administrative staff, you’ll experience a supportive, professional environment where you can realise your potential.


Energy House

Salford is home to the unique Energy House – the only fully climate controlled research facility in the world. Built in 2011, this full-scale two-bedroom terraced house is inside an environmental chamber that can replicate almost any weather conditions. It is fully furnished and packed with a vast array of sensors that can monitor a wide range of variables.

Think Lab

Think Lab is our futuristic research environment. It leads the development of advanced technology platforms for smart city applications, collaborative engineering, industry collaborations, simulation and gaming applications, and interactive training and learning

Staff profile

Programme leader - Justine Cooper

Justine is a Civil Engineer and Building Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience in the Built Environment. She brings to the programme a wealth of industry and research experience, including roles as underpinning and piling contract engineer, residential surveyor, energy and environmental impact assessor, project manager and member of the Sustainable Building Research Group focusing on asset management and sustainable performance of existing social housing, the interaction between people, buildings and technology and energy performance and occupant behaviour (change).

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


This course will equip you for a rewarding career as a building surveyor in the construction industry. The life of a building surveyor is varied and challenging and it is highly likely that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel, and that you’ll play a key role in shaping the built environment.

With an extensive understanding of buildings, the law, property and construction, you will be well equipped to pursue roles in a variety of areas including: building defect diagnostics, the conservation of historic buildings, acquisition and condition surveying, refurbishments alterations and extensions, the specification and supervision of construction work, dilapidations, party walls and rights to light work, and the design of new buildings.

Opportunities exist for building surveying graduates in a range of private and public sector environments. These include surveying and architectural professional practices, property and construction companies, and the estates departments of major organisations with substantial property holdings.

Our building surveying graduates have found employment with a number of organisations including: B&Q, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gleeds Construction Consultants, Manchester City Council, Mansell Construction Services, National Grid, Network Rail, Property Tectonics Ltd, STMC Building Control Ltd.

A taste of what you could become

A building surveyor

An urbanist

A project manager

A construction contractor

And more...

Career Links

Guest lecturers from the building surveying profession with expertise in relevant areas are invited to give lectures throughout the duration of the course. Field trips are organised in co-operation with local surveying practices, giving full-time students the opportunity to visualise what is taught and apply it to a real-world context.

The School enjoys excellent links with the local, national and international property and construction industries. This programme meets the needs of the industry by providing formal postgraduate level education for new entrants to the building surveying profession.


What you need to know


Designed to provide a career focus, the course is open to graduates from a broad range of subjects, including the arts, sciences, law or business. This course is also relevant for current professionals who want to formalise their existing building surveying skills.

No prior knowledge of building surveying, property or construction is required, however, it is important that you are prepared for the scope of the course content. Building surveyors have a passion for historic and modern buildings, possessing practical, creative, business-focused skills and able to operate in a professional environment. Possessing these qualities will enhance your learning experience.


International applicants will be required to show proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.


Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate Degree

Applicants must have a minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2).

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) 

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £8,460per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £13,320per year
Part-time 2020/21 £1,410 per 30 credits. International: £2220 per 30 credits.
Distance learning 2020/21 UK/EU: £1410 per 30 credits. International: £1845 per 30 credits
Additional costs

You should consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

 Scholarships for international students 2020/21

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Built Environment Postgraduate Silver Award  worth £1,500 and the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.

For more information go to International Scholarships 

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2020

January 2021

September 2021